Breakfast By The Sea, Santa Barbara
Breakfast. Open patio. By the sea. Thinking of dreams and dreaming. Feeling absurdly blessed. I look up and see a school of dolphins swimming by, black rounded shapes with startling upright fins rising above dark blue water then sliding down again. Just offshore, maybe 20 ft., so silent. Some seem to be in pairs – and and so a finned pas de deux. My fellow breakfasters are deep into eggs, fried potatoes, and toast. I think how much goes on silently just offshore. Sometimes, if we’re lucky and quick, we can see just such a black fin rising and sliding back. I write these things down for me. My next table neighbor looks up – sees them, points, and soon everybody is looking. My neighbor pointed so that all could see though maybe, also, so they would know that he’s seen. Some guilt over my own quiet – but you out there, as you read this, maybe you too can see.
Breakfast again. Cold, Splattering, March Rain. The patio tables have been pulled back so I sit on the porch watching the sea through the noisy curtain of the gutter’s overflow. The sand reaches out flat then slants down out of sight to the water. Now and again, a wave rises high enough so I can see it curl and break before it disappears below the sand horizon and hear its thunder beneath the steady rain. Farther out, the anchored boats rise and fall in this small storm – though one big catamaran sits stolid and unmoving as the lions that crouch stonily beside museum steps. The sea stretches out in a tarnished, silver gray, the sky a descends in a gray white. In between are cloud wisps, sky-colored, but carrying a shadow of sea.
I sat here yesterday morning, in the sun, among joggers and skaters and strollers – the walking kind and the pushing kind – feeling blessed by the life that has brought me here. I feel that same blessing now, though it’s a darker and deeper blessing – more sea than sky. Yeats writes of sitting at a table alfresco in London when a gift descended on him:
While on the shop and street I gazed
My body of a sudden blazed;
And twenty minutes more or less
It seemed, so great my happiness,
That I was blessed and could bless.
Do these these moments, come not to bless us, but so we can bless others?
A dark-winged gull flies in the rain across my seeing, from south to north.
BIO: Nils Peterson received the SVcreates OnPage Laureateship 2019 award for his own work as well as his many contributions to the Silicon Valley poetry community.
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